Monday, 26 April 2010

Homebrew Final

Toast to top brew!

Bristol Beer Factory celebrated the flavoursome talents of amateur brewers this week at the official launch party for Bristol Beer Factory’s Visitor Centre in North Street, Bristol.

The inaugural homebrew competition was won by Richard Pool with his ‘Mountain Goat IPA’, a unanimous and very popular choice with the judges. Richard can now look forward to spending a day alongside the Bristol Beer Factory brewers, with the resulting brew sold in local pubs throughout Bristol. Richard will also receive a 72 pint cask of his beer and a meal for two in the Barley Mow.

Second in the competition was Chris Tazewell with his golden brew, ‘EastvilleAU’, with ‘And So To Bedminster’ winning the title of ‘Best named brew’. The award for the best label went to ‘Windmill Pale Ale’, which had a picture of a windmill gaffer-taped onto the bottle.

All 20 competition entrants were invited to the final where, in addition to sampling Bristol Beer Factory ales, they were treated to a fine array of tasty treats on offer from Trethowans Dairy, Mark's Bread, Crumpet Cakes & The Chocolate Tart. Mark Newman bakes his bread on the premises, all using organic flour and sea salt, and has produced a special sourdough featuring Bristol Beer Factory’s Number Seven. Crumpet Cakes is also based at the Visitor Centre, with Becca Luger making her delicious cakes upstairs. Goodies from these local businesses will be available to purchase at the Visitor Centre which will also feature historical brewing displays and brewery tours in addition to sales of Bristol Beer Factory beer and merchandise.

Bristol Beer Factory Production Director, Simon Bartlett, said, “The evening was a great success and we were really fortunate to have had a wide range of quality homebrews to try. The judging panel were impressed with the care and ingenuity which had gone into creating some really interesting beers using all sorts of ingredients including chocolate, coriander, orange peel, ginger and cardamom.”

Head Brewer, Chris Kay, was also full of praise for the entrants ‘The home brew industry is growing increasing popular with people who appreciate the variety and quality of traditional beer, and the art of brewing is such a fascinating process. We wanted to encourage people to take part to gain experience and valuable feedback on their brews but the competition is also a fun way to celebrate the ethos of Real Ale.”

Look out for ‘Mountain Goat IPA’ in Bristol Beer Factory outlets throughout Bristol from June 2010.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Back to (Cheese) School

Sunday 11th April was the date of the first Cheese School, which was exactly as it said on the tin... a day learning about cheese, tasting it, learning about how it is made, more tasting, recipes, more tasting... you get the message. Not for the faint (or weak) hearted this was like wading up to your waste in beautiful artisan cheeses. Brilliantly run by Fiona Beckett and Jess Trethowan it was a fun day with lots of different people speaking; cheese makers, mongers, fanatics, wine merchants & us.
So why were we there? One of the days items was pairing wine & beer with cheese, actually having beer and wine compete against each other to find out who was cheeses best friend. Four cheeses had been selected, Matt from Avery's had selected 4 wines and we brought 2 of our beers and 2 Belgians had also been selected for us. The 4 cheeses were, Dorstone, a creamy Goats Cheese rolled in ash, Tunworth, a ripe Camembert style cheese, Stichelton, my favourite blue & Old Demdike, a sheep's cheese similar to a young Manchego.

The first pairing was with the Dorstone, we had a Belgian wheat beer to pair with it. The Dorstone is a very creamy goats cheese and the citrus flavours and carbonation lifted this quite well. We had also brought a bottle of Milk Stout along and that was a little better I felt. The lactose sugar in the Milk Stout gives it a creamy feel that goes very well with the Dorstone, you wouldn't expect it to work but it really does.

We had brought along some dry-hopped Sunrise to have with the Old Demdike, it has more citrus aroma and tastes a bit more bitter than you are used to drinking from the pub. It is absolutely delicious, the new seasons Pioneer hops are fantastic. However the extra bitterness was probably not needed with this cheese, they were fine together but it wasn't the all singing and dancing double act that Sunrise is when its paired with Gorwydd Caerphilly. The Cheese School students enjoyed it thoroughly, especially later on with their macaroni cheese.

Bacchus Kriek was paired with Tunworth a runny Camembert style cheese that was absolutely delicious. I usually find Bacchus to sweet for me and generally prefer other Kriek's. This cheese pairing was a triumph however, with the two working particularly well together improving the beer no end, and the acidity of the beer lifting the unctuous cheese and refreshing the palate.
Finally we paired Stichelton with our new 7.7% Imperial Stout. These two worked beautifully together, a real one plus one equals three combination as the fruity esters in the beer combine with the rich cheese and the coffee & chocolate notes in the beer are accentuated. We liked a lot!
I must say something about the wines, as I'm usually a bit sceptical about wine & cheese pairings which generally think are over-rated, but a lovely French Sauvignon was great with the Goats Cheese and a Sherry pairing with Stichelton was excellent. I didn't write the details down, sorry!
I thought Cheese School was a great day, and the 'students' seemed completely absorbed by what they were being told. The cheese knowledge in the room was mind-blowing and I learnt loads! I believe the next one is in June, we'll be there and I suggest you are too.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cask Ale Week Events

It's Cask Ale Week this week and our pubs are fully embracing it with some lovely Beer & Food events. The Barley Mow in the Dings is making a Bristol Stout and Beef Stew on Thursday, you can get some stew and a pint for £6. All week we have an offer on Bristol Stout, our cask stout that looks like a keg stout but tastes so much better. Available in the Barley Mow, the Grain Barge, the Tobacco Factory & the Windmill, buy 3 Bristol Stouts and get your 4th one free!

The Grain Barge has also been making beery food with some delicious Stout & Chocolate Brownies. We have gone beer & chocolate mad, as we also have a Chocolate & Beer Tasting on Thursday night at 8pm. Spaces are filling fast for this, so give them a ring on 0117 929 9347 to book a seat.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chocolate & Beer Tasting

On Thursday Evening we will be joining forces with Lisa from The Chocolate Tart for a fabulous fun-filled feast of fantastic Chocolate paired with beautiful beer brewed by us in Bristol & in Belgium. Lisa has picked some of the finest chocolate in the world to work wonders with the beers.

The event is on the Grain Barge at 8pm on Thursday 1st April, which is the designated FemALE Day, part of Cask Ale Week when we encourage people to try the nations favourite alcoholic beverage. This time last year only 16% of women had tried Cask Ale, but a year later nearly 30% have given it a go, with over 40% continuing to drink it regularly.
We are only charging £8 and you have the opportunity to try 6 different chocolates with 6 different beers, including 2 beers that are making their public debut!
Chocolate and beer may appear an odd combination to many people but they share a number of attributes. They both need to balance bitterness and sweetness, bitterness from hops in beer and cocoa beans in chocolate, sweetness from sugar in chocolate and malted barley in beer. The big warming alcohol feel in a mouthful of beer is matched as chocolate melts in the mouth, the carbonation in beer will accentuate the flavours and clean the palate ready for the next mouthful of chocolate, the tastes and textures compliment each other.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Beer, Cheese & Bread Matching

This weekend we are going to the Love Food Festival at The Brunel Passenger Shed at Temple Meads Station to do a tasting with two of our favourite food people Mark's Bread & Trethowan's Dairy. Last night we had the arduous task of deciding on our pairings for the event and we were very pleased with the results. One pairing in particular took me by surprise and I'm looking forward to sharing it with everyone at the weekend.

4 delicious cheeses, 4 unusual breads & 4 great beers working in heavenly harmony, I'm salivating already.
The tastings are on Saturday & Sunday afternoons at 3pm. I'm not going to reveal the pairings until after the weekend, although some more details may appear on Twitter. See you there!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Homebrew Competition

There are just a couple of weeks left until all our Homebrew Competition entries need to be in. We have received a couple of early entries that needed to be drunk fresh, so we have had our first couple of tastes of what Bristol Home Brewers have to offer. Quite impressive, but we are sure there is much more to come...

If you haven't already pick up an entry form from the Grain Barge, Barley Mow, Windmill, Tobacco Factory, Brewer's Droop or Highbury Vaults or email and bring us 2 bottles of your finest.

This is what the Evening Post think of the competition.

The Grand Final is on April 20th at the opening of our new Visitor's Centre, when the favourite 5 beers will be judged by an esteemed panel of hopheads to compete for Champion HomeBrew of Bristol.
Thursday April 1st is the last day we will accept entries...

Happy Brewing!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Green Green Malt

There is a lot of love around for the Hop at the moment, one brewery has recently announced their 'Top of the Hops' and lots of beer bloggers are confirmed 'hop heads', but the hop is nothing without the balance that Malt gives it. So lets hear it for Malt, the undervalued backbone of your beer.

There are only 4 traditional Maltings left in the country and fairly spread out they are too. We are very lucky therefore to have Warminster Maltings just a few miles down the road, keeping our 'Beer Miles' down and supplying us with the king of malt, Maris Otter. All of our beers at the BBF use Maris Otter in the recipe.

Warminster Maltings began life in 1855, it's construction from re-cycled parts of other maltings dotted across the town has endured for over 150 years, as has the process that is largely unaltered in all that time. The fields around Warminster are full of Maris Otter barley that once harvested makes its way to Warminster Maltings where it is steeped in water from their own well. The 'green' malt is then spread on the traditional floors, and the correct temperature is reached to enforce germination. The 'green malt' is kiln dried and milled ready for us to brew No.7, Red or anything else that takes our fancy. It really is a very 'green' process.

The huge increase in the number of small breweries have helped the traditional Maltings to fight back after they became a very endangered species during the 60's. The ability to produce specialist malts with great flavour has helped the improvement in beer quality and experimentation that you are now seeing from brewers all over the world. Against the backdrop of falling beer sales across the country, small independant breweries have fought back and are growing their market share year on year. The partnership with the likes of Warminster Maltings continues to make this possible.


Bottle Range

‘OB’ or Our Beers is a new Craft bottle range from the BBF. It is the essence of everything that small scale local brewing is about. We want to brew delicious full-flavoured beers that we want to drink. These beers are about creativity, investigation and experimentation, taking what we enjoy the most out of our ales & pushing that to the limit. This is our chance to try new hop varieties, to see what happens when we introduce hops at unusual stages of the brewing process, to try different and exciting styles of beer or to just vary one of our current brews. We will be experimenting with different yeast strains, types of malt and hop varieties from all over the world.

We are hoping to be able to release a small number of casks into the trade for each brew but the majority will be bottle conditioned sold in a few of our favourite places. Primarily the Grain Barge will be the outlet with the majority of this range. They will also be available from our online shop at http// and through the new Bristol Beer Factory Visitor Centre on North St.

Our first experimental brews off the production line include a 6.7% American style IPA of which we have tried two different versions, both any hopheads dream! Imperial Stout we call Black 77 at 7.7%, and a German style Wheat Beer. Dry-hopped versions of Red and Sunrise and of course our National Champion Milk Stout that has been bottle-conditioned for the first time.

These ideas are the things we talk about doing at the brewery, how we feel we can push the boundaries of what we do and introduce the type of beers we want to brew and drink. We know that some of these new beers may not be to everyone’s taste, and we will always continue to brew our award winning core brands, it is just exciting to brew beers that might encourage other people to try full-flavoured, alternative styles of beer.

But if it doesn’t, we don’t mind, they are ‘Our Beers’ after all!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Love Food Tasting

At the end of March the Love Food Festival takes over Brunel's Old Station at Temple Meads Station, Bristol. In conjunction with Mark's Bread and Trethowan's Dairy we will be hosting Beer, Cheese & Bread Tastings on both Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th.

We have been working through some possible pairings this week, with some classic taste combinations such as our lovely citrussy hopped Sunrise with Gorwydd Caerphilly and Sourdough bread as well as the more unusual Dorstone Goats Cheese, Rye bread and Milk Stout...
a little sampling in a couple of weeks time and we will be ready to rock... see you there!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Twitter Tasting

To celebrate Milk Stout's first cask brew of the year we are hosting a Twitter Tasting of our favourite beer. Milk Stout is a delicious full-bodied stout with a beautiful chocolate sweetness, it is the 2009 CAMRA National Champion Stout and will be available throughout Bristol this March from the cask.

On Friday March 19th we are having a Milk Stout Twitter Tasting at 5.15pm.

What on earth does that mean?

If you haven't discovered Twitter yet, then here's your chance... log on to and set yourself up...

follow us at @brisbeerfactory

We will be tasting the beer at the brewery comparing the cask and bottled versions and tweeting our thoughts, as well as lots of info about the beer.

You can come and join us at the brewery if you wish or just follow our tweets and add your own with the hashtag #stouttaste.

Get your work mates involved and finish a Friday afternoon with a sociable beer with us, your friends or colleagues. You could go to your local pub that serves Milk Stout from the cask or just get yourself a bottle.
If you have any Twitter Tasting questions why not send us a tweet or email

Monday, 1 March 2010

Friday, 26 February 2010

Cask Ale Week

National Cask Ale Week, now in its second year, is a week where those pubs and breweries and supporting campaign groups shout loudly about our favourite drink. We are all encouraged to join in with the big boys and put on events to persuade everyone to try Cask Ale.

At the BBF, (whilst not being great at being told what to do, and when to do it!) we have decided to give the good people of Bristol a couple of Cask Ale treats to show its versatility and hopefully to get you to try some styles of beer you otherwise might not.

Bristol Stout, our Cask Stout that often looks, but doesn't taste, like its come out of a nitro-keg, will be available with a loyalty card. Simply get 3 stamps on your card and get a 4th drink free! This will be available at participating pubs during Cask Ale Week, don't worry you don't have to drink it all in one sitting.

April 1st has been nominated as FemALE day, a day when we encourage women to try some beer. This time last year less than 16% of women had tried cask ale. A year on and that figure has risen to 30%, with many continuing to drink it.

The boys from the BBF will be hosting a Beer and Chocolate Tasting event at the Grain Barge to showcase the different flavours available in cask beer and how they can work with different foods. Limited numbers of tickets will be available for this event on a first come first saved basis.

The tasting starts at 8 o'clock with at least 6 different beer and chocolate combinations for you, for the measly price of £8.

Milk Stout Chocolates

Good news for all the Chocolate lovers! We have finally got round to having some Milk Stout Chocolate Truffles made by Guilberts in Bristol, and need less to say they are delicious.

Pints of the Chocolates will be going on sale very soon from the Grain Barge, our new website and plenty of other places besides.

With Cask Ale Week at the end of March who knows what kind of beery chocolaty fun could be going on!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Slow-Cooked Beef in Milk Stout

Cooking with beer and matching food and beer are two of our favourite things, and this weekend I've done a bit of both.

Some of my favourite meals are slow-roasts, be it lamb, pork or beef and I often marinate and cook with beer as it is such a great tenderiser. I often use Belgian beers that have a sweetness as it can accentuate a lot of the flavours in the meat. There is nothing new or revolutionary about putting beef and stout together, but I was interested to see if the sweetness in the milk stout would work in a similar way.

For my recipe I marinated a brisket of beef in Milk Stout with garlic, thyme and rosemary. The brisket joint was browned in a frying pan with a good glug of olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. It then joined onions and more garlic in the roasting tin with the beer and more herbs. I roasted at 200C for about 30 mins before reducing the temperature to 130 c and covering the tin. 5 hours later a beautifully tender joint appeared and I made a delicious gravy with the beer, which had lost its sweetness but had a lovely oaty flavour. I served it up with horseradish mash and roasted carrots.

No. 7 with its rounded toffee malt flavour and moorish bitter finish was a great accompaniment to the tender beef.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Home Brew Competition

2 Bottles of your beer must be submitted to the Brewery with an entry form by the 1st April 2010.

For any queries and entry forms please contact the Brewery on 0117 902 6317.
Rules and Regulations!
  • 2 bottles of your beer must be submitted to the BBF by April 1st 2010 with a completed entry form.
  • Original Gravity no higher than 1055 or an ABV of no more than 5.2%
  • All ingredients must be British or replicable in a commercial brew
  • Extract or grain mashes are permitted
  • Competition entrants must reside or work within 30 miles of the brewery
  • There is no limit on the number of entries per person
  • Judges will give feedback on all brews entered
  • 5 beers will selected for the Final on 20th April to be held at the Visitors Centre at the BBF, to which all entrants will be invited
  • The Brewer's Droop Homebrew Shop has generously offered a 10% discount on ingredients bought for the competition

Friday, 29 January 2010

Home Brew Competition

Interest is hotting up in our Home Brew Competition.

Read what they have to say in the Evening Post.

February Pint Pot

Welcome to the new Bristol Beer Factory blog, a place where you can learn more about us and what we're doing!
Every month we will be publishing our Pint Pot Newsletter with stories and information.

In the next few weeks and months we have Exhibition, our strong, dark, warming ale in the SIBA National Finals, the CAMRA Bristol Beer Festival, when Milk Stout will be available in cask again for all its devotees, and the opening of our Brewery Visitor Centre and lots more besides...
You can keep up to date with our Facebook page and on Twitter @brisbeerfactory